Saturday, 27 January 2007

Party Preparations

My children are nothing if not unusual. My son lopes around, his head filled with idealistic plans of changing the world – bless. My 11 year old lives in a fantasy world compounded by the material she reads. The two year old lives in a silent world, where occasionally her little voice is heard to pipe up, “juice” and now the soon to be five year old, far from wanting a ‘princess birthday party’ where it would be easy to find cups, plates, tablecloths, party bags and prizes, she has told me that she wants a ‘Bollywood’ Party.
The thing is Plymouth, as far as I am aware is not renowned for its Asian culture and I am finding appropriate gifts and entertainment very hard to come by. I know that she would love a band and beautiful girls in saris demonstrating bhangra dancing but I don’t know where to start and yet whenever anyone asks her what she’s doing for her birthday, she says she’s having an Indian birthday and I smile weakly.
Hubby, in his inimitable fashion won’t hear of it, “You’re too indulgent”, he frowned, when for the third hour that morning he found me on eBay scouring the listings for culturally accurate party favours, “Just buy her a Barbie and a Winnie- the-Pooh birthday cake, organise a pass the parcel, a few Wotsits and she’ll forget all about bangles and bindis”.
“You’ve got no sense of imagination”, I complain but it all falls on deaf ears and once again it is left to me to sort it out. I blame her big sister. She let her watch her ‘Bride and Prejudice’ DVD and since then the four year old has been hooked. I cannot count how many times she has watched the Indian version of Elizabeth Bennett’s plight, but suffice it to say she even knows the dance moves off by heart. Having been given the soundtrack for Christmas I have found her in her bedroom acting out the movie, choreography and acting moves exactly on cue. In her toy room, Ken and Barbie – she had an Indian Barbie for Christmas too, are now the star crossed lovers - although try as I might, I cannot see Ken’s plastic features akin to my dream version of Darcy. My girl is having none of it though and day after day she runs in from school, straight into her play room, opens the Barbie box and within minutes Indian Elizabeth or Lalita as she is known in the film and Darcy/Ken are having yet another heated contretemps, before she turns her CD player on and they swirl into an energetic dance routine.
The littlest daughter of all is, of course, taking all this in her stride and can wrap a towel around herself, sari style with the best of them and her Indian dancing is coming on a treat. Old bangles have gone missing from my jewellery box and both of them wear bejewelled dressing up flip-flops constantly.
Mags luckily, ever politically correct and ever ready to embrace cultural ethnicity is very excited, “How fantastic!” she exclaimed, “party-wise all my boys have ever wanted is Thomas the Bloody Tank Engine. Let me help you”. She, as Hubby would have it, is I/C, therefore of henna tattoos. Another friend is hoping to help with a bit of belly dancing but the 11 year old has grave doubts about this, “Mum, have you not seen the furore surrounding Shilpa in the Big Brother house?”
“Yes darling”. How could I deny it, she catches me in bed night after night, a cup of tea in one hand, the TV remote control in the other, ready to flick channels lest my children find me covertly watching such mindless, if addictive, drivel. As my son rather pointedly said the other night, “Watching Panorama again mum?”
My somewhat pedantic daughter added, “Well India is not exactly renowned for its belly dancing. It’s more a Middle Eastern thing. I would hate my own mother to be culturally ignorant”.
“Does it really matter?” – wrong thing to say as my daughter went off into one and apparently I am no better than Jade Goody et al, with my stereotypical views of anyone of race.
“Now listen here miss”, I was cross, “don’t you start having a go at your mother. I am trying to do the best for your little sister and surely some wonderful Asian music and a little dancing is more culturally aware than Pass the piggin parcel”. With a flounce of her hair and a turn of her heel she stomped up the stairs.
“That’s it Alice” added Hubby, “I knew you were opening a can of worms”.
“Oh you can bloody well shut up as well” and I flounced in the other direction.
The celebrations are proceeding, perhaps against every one else’s better judgement. I have booked a hall; a curry is to be served along with onion bhajis, rice, poppadums and naan. Hubby felt it would be prudent to offer an alternative, “Why don’t you ask parents if their little darlings would prefer nuggets or sausage and chips?”
In a rare moment of deference then, I put forward a choice of alternatives to the curry. The majority of mums have replied in favour of the nuggets, two have said yum to the curry but another stipulated that her son is a vegan with several food allergies and that if the curry were to have soya meat that would be great, as long as there was no coconut milk as that could be fatal. “I told you so”, said Hubby haughtily, “I bet no-one’s allergic to Wotsits”. Had he not been, as he usually is, at the end of a telephone line, I’d have quite happily slapped him with a wet chapatti, instead and with great maturity I blew a great, big raspberry down the line before hanging up. Party pooper.

1 comment:

Sally's ED said...

I love this post!I'd never read your earlier ones before now! Your five year old sounds hilarious!